Between the four members of crew Pacific Warriors, they manage to cover two sexes and three nationalities – Duncan Tebb (age 33) is a stockbroker from Australia, Susannah Cass (25) is a student from the UK, and the two Americans are entrepreneur John Wagner (28) and actor Matt Lasky (33).
Their boat, the Limited Intelligence (which Susannah comments will make for some interesting VHF radio calls) is considerably longer than the pairs boats at 30 feet in length, but still not enough room for separate Gents and Ladies bathrooms.
The crew’s lone female, Susannah took up rowing at Cambridge and took to it with a passion, representing the university in the annual race against their old rivals Oxford, and continues to row (in just about anything that floats, seemingly) now that she is doing a PhD at Trinity College Dublin.
Since reassessing his corporate lifestyle at the age of 30, Aussie Duncan has been on a steadily escalating fitness kick. Rowing the Pacific now seems like the natural progression from ultra-marathons and Ironman events.
John built and sold an eco-friendly sunglasses business and now designs and shapes surfboards alongside his more adventurous backwoods activities. Like Susannah, he is passionate about conservation, so they’re delighted to be working with NASA to research ocean salinity, sending back data from an onboard sensor.
Matt’s ocean experience to date consists mostly of acting in Pirates of the Caribbean. He’s hoping that the rowing voyage will enhance his employability as a professional on-screen pirate and give him a chance to grow his beard back. He also has a dark back-story – check out his IMDb profile to find out more.
The crew have chosen two charities – the Mark Pollock Trust, founded by the Irish rower and adventurer who went blind at 22, and as if that wasn’t enough misfortune for one lifetime, at the age of 34 fell from a second storey window and was paralysed. The Trust aims to put hope of recovery on the agenda for people with spinal cord injuries.
Through Matt’s volunteer work with autistic people, the crew has also chosen Autism Speaks.
Responding today to questions from the Al Jazeera news team that came to report on the race, it was clear that this crew is not in this for fame, glory or money. They have all made big financial sacrifices to be here – as have many of our crews – in the full knowledge that there are no cash prizes, and only an outside chance of public recognition. For most of our rowers, it’s not about the outward trappings of success, it’s about the inner journey of self-discovery. We wish them all the joy of that journey.